Creativity Found

Maxyne Ryan – jazz and soul singer and graduate of Guildhall School of Music and Drama

June 13, 2021 Maxyne Ryan Season 2 Episode 7
Creativity Found
Maxyne Ryan – jazz and soul singer and graduate of Guildhall School of Music and Drama
Show Notes Transcript

Studying at Guildhall School of Music and Drama is challenging and invigorating, rigorous and demanding, and the standard of tuition is world class. This episode’s guest studied there as a mature student, and is grateful for the experience, which burnt through her savings and tested her energy. Find out how Maxyne Ryan ticked that one off her bucket list, and what she did after that too.

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Music: Day Trips by Ketsa https://ketsa.uk/under Creative Commons License
https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Ketsa/Raising_Frequecy/Day_Trips

Artworks: Emily Portnoi emilyportnoi.co.uk

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Claire Waite Brown:

For this episode, I'm speaking with Maxine Ryan, who gave up her useful party lifestyle so that she could look deep within herself and focus on her music. Hi, Maxine. Hello. You call your creative pursuit, you're God's job using that term to mean a spiritual calling not necessarily related to a particular religion. What is your God job,

Unknown:

or for me, I feel that it's singing. When I use the term god, it's like it's an it's an umbrella term. I don't follow any particular religion or anything like that I was brought up Catholic. But what I mean by that is, it's my calling. It's my purpose. It's my vocation. I've been singing for about 20 years, and I made that decision to sing that time ago. And since then, I just feel that it's what I'm on this earth to do. And I like to think that when I sing, it creates good vibrations within people, whether it's to help people relax, or chill out, or to excite with the more up tempo numbers, but I really do believe that singing, and using my voice is my god job. And that is also because of the amount of God changes and everything that I've been through since making that decision 20 years ago, to become a singer.

Claire Waite Brown:

That's beautiful. Thank you. So we're gonna hear more on that whole story as we progress. But let's start with your childhood and did music and the arts play a role in your upbringing?

Unknown:

Music, I would say so because I was initially influenced by the music that was around me. So it'd be my mum's Motown, or last end of disco. So I was brought up listening to facts, sort of music, which I loved. And then in terms of sort of other forms of creativity, also, my mom's pretty creative. She was always making things and my mom and my dad had this frame making business amongst other things. So yeah, I would say so. What about school? Oh, god, no, no, absolutely not. Because it was obvious rubbish. It's music. And I had an a block with regards to the you know, the the reading of the notes and stuff. I mean, I did used to play the recorder and I would drive my mum and my stepdad nuts because I was always doing this London's burn in London's burning, you know, on the record, and that made me go down to the bottom of the, of the garden and sit on my wall. So but my singing to him is just very old fashioned and crotchets and quavers. You know, the doctor, I just, I just couldn't do it. Yeah, that's understandable.

Claire Waite Brown:

When you left school, did you have a career or a life plan in mind?

Unknown:

Absolutely not. I was clue less. I was a rather less. I was hopeless. I was, I mean, in my, in my sort of late teenage years, I was all over the shop. I had no idea what I wanted to do. I was studying a levels. But at that time in my life, what was very important to me was nightclubs and going out and booze in and having fun and meeting fellows and all those sorts of things. So a career or a vocation. I mean, what That, that came to me a lot later than a couple of years later. And it came after I had. The only way I can describe it was a spiritual awakening.

Claire Waite Brown:

Okay, so then what kinds of things were you doing before this spiritual awakening? How are you getting by?

Unknown:

Oh, what? Where I was working and stuff like that? Yeah. Oh, well, I mean, I was doing my A Levels. But then I stopped doing those because I kept going out and I got grounded. And then my parents like, right. If that's how you want to behave, then you're going to go and get a job. So I've got a job. And I think I worked in local government for a while. And I was just doing those sorts of things. I lived in Portugal for a couple of years, went to Portugal, I fell in love and, you know, went to see my auntie in Portugal, and didn't come back for two years as you do. I fell in love with a wonderful man who was actually a musician, funnily enough, but I hadn't really come into contact with my true creativity, then it was only when I came back, and I started working on myself. And then I came to the realisation that, yeah, I want it to be a scene.

Claire Waite Brown:

So you had an epiphany moment, regardless of your purpose in life. Tell me more about that.

Unknown:

Well, it was. So when I came back from Portugal, I was very much involved in the rave scene, I absolutely loved it. For me, it's the music, the music, the music, the music, and also Initially, the happy vibe that was in those places. That did change later. And that's why I sort of stopped going. But I was introduced to this psychologist, I suppose that specialised in relationships, and I went on a weekend workshop in the only way I can describe it as like a life transforming weekend workshop. And in that weekend, the pen just just dropped something changed in my psyche, about life. And then I went on a few more. And then I actually went on a two week intensive course in Hawaii. And it was like this global summit, where all of these people came from all over the world in order to, you know, to really look at ourselves, our psyche, our past, our relationships, all of those things. And it was just before I flew out to that event, for BC, BC. And then that was the start of my journey.

Claire Waite Brown:

Wow, we're talking about the journey. Then once you had this realisation, you start to trying to become a singer with various ups and downs. What did you do immediately after the epiphany moment?

Unknown:

Okay, so when I came back from that Hawaii trip, I thought, right, what am I going to do? And then I think I was around 25. So believe it or not in the pop world 25 I think it's quite old, I think. I didn't really realise that at the time. It's only now as I'm going on. But thankfully, I seen soul and jazz and r&b and they're sort of timeless. So I will be singing until I can no longer sing, which I hope is going to be my 80s or 90s if it is even longer. So what did I do, I came back, I did it. I did this demo, I started contacting managers and stuff like that. I did loads of open mics. It definitely started, you know, the sort of like that boozy part of me definitely started. But sort of, I still had quite a party lifestyle that we dip in and out of. And it was only again a few years later that the point came and I just thought I cannot live this lifestyle and become a senior, it's just not going to happen. It's just not going to happen. As at that point, I thought, right? Well, that lifestyles got a god. So it did.

Claire Waite Brown:

How did you change your life? Then, after you had that realisation?

Unknown:

Well, I stopped going to raves. And not that they were raves anymore. It was just like nightclubs and stuff like that. It's just, I stopped going out in that way. I stopped drinking. There was a whole group of friends and associates that are lovely, lovely people, but I knew that if I continued in that sort of circle, then my behaviour would continue. So I just extricated is that a word? Is that? Is that the right word? For that sense?

Claire Waite Brown:

I think so. Yeah. Yeah. When you take

Unknown:

yourself out, yeah, yeah, I will. If that is the right word extra cater, and you can leave that in and then I thought, right, I've got a you know, I've got to I've got to take myself out of this. And so I did. And then I just started on this very, very deep journey of inner work, you know, looking at myself looking at my behaviour, looking at my past, looking at my upbringing, looking at my relationships and just working on all of that sort of stuff. And that's what I did.

Claire Waite Brown:

And how did that help you? Or how did that help you musically?

Unknown:

Well, because then I wasn't I wasn't having these some, you know, these big raucous nights out that were kind of like these explosions in my life. So it was kind of like there was sort of two parts to me. There's this very healthy, deeply spiritual, clean living woman. And then there's this other side which are called that based, you know, that likes to go out on party and have fun and that which is great. There's a wonderful side of me, but that side was stopping lots of stuff because I, I won't explain it as I'd have these explosions every couple of weeks. And then I'd go one step forward, two steps back, just bingeing as bingeing was a binge drinker. So when that stopped, I didn't add those explosions going on anymore. Getting having all that aspect out of my life, just made things easier. And then, you know, I started singing gospel choirs are released a couple of dance tracks, they were included in some compilation albums, which was just brilliant. And then I just started gigging and they're not you my ears started to get more sophisticated. And I started doing jazz, or learning jazz. And jazz is such an intricate and sophisticated art form. I'm still very much a beginner. Even though I have a master's in jazz voice, I still consider myself very much a beginner in terms of jazz, because that is just a whole different ballgame.

Claire Waite Brown:

And while this is going on, we know that often artists of whatever discipline, need to be earning money in a different way. Yeah. How are you getting by?

Unknown:

Well, and this is another thing is that I've done many things, many, many things over the years, some promotional work, and yeah, just all sorts of stuff. But then I was an office manager, and then I was promoted to be a head of service for a really large FAA company, like couple of big sites, you know, 14,000 learners, a staff body of over 200, I'd a massive team. Yeah, that was just so intense. And I had the terminology is such stretching targets with you know, some really cool, some really big deliverables shall we say? So that was a huge job that I had. And I was there for about eight years. And I'd say for seven years, and loved it, every day, was just it really intention, I'd never knew what was going to happen. As I said, I lead a very large team, I was responsible for all of the customer services, all of the inbound and outbound calls, the reception centres. I mean, it's a head of service is a huge job. And if you could work in a senior position, like I was in fa, you can do anything. But then the last year of that, it was just crisis management every day. And I just thought this is this is affecting your happiness here. So I can't I need to do something. And I really did feel like I was getting backed into a corner not not by any big it was like my sense was I was getting backed into a corner, because the workload was getting bigger, and my team was getting smaller. And me I'm a complete a finisher, so there's no way I'm going to let something fall. I would literally, you know, I was like, I was holding a drink tray whilst doing a marathon. And I was not allowed to spill any of those drinks. That's what it got to be like. And that of course took out masses of energy of mine. At the same time, I've always done sort of two things. And for a very long time, I thought I'd cracked it clear. I really did I thought my god I've orchestrated I'm not married and I don't have kids and that's that's fine. That's that's what I've orchestrated. All my be married, but I've never really wanted children. I thought I'd cracked it. I thought right I've got I've got a big job. You know that I love on well paid. It's really exciting. I've got my gigs at the weekend, some in the week. I go to the gym. I've got a really nice lifestyle. As I said, I've got no other responsibilities all my money's for me. I have kretek gym in the week yoga, fantastic. And only lived like that for quite a number of years and I know I was really, really happy. I've gone wonderful holidays and look forward to coming back from holidays. I've got a really great life to come back to you know, it was brilliant, absolutely brilliant. But then the last year or so. It turned, and it was just awful. I just want I can't do this anymore because no matter what I give, it's never enough. I I just thought, right? Someone's got a given I thought like Guild Hall, Guild Hall that is on my bucket list. rightly or wrongly, I spent all my life savings but I just thought, you know, I've got one life. I don't want to get some 70 I could have done that. No way. I just thought you know what do it. So that's what I did. I was backed into a corner. I knew I had to change because I was going into work, drinking loads of coffee every day just to get me through the day. And I just know that he circles the same stuff every day crisis management every day. This is this is not me. This is not my life. It's not our choose to live my life. I'm really organised along the ball, not doing it. So I resigned and I got a place thinking. Well, exactly. So

Claire Waite Brown:

you studied for a master's in jazz voice at Guildhall School of Music and Drama as a mature student? Why did you choose to go there? And what was your experience? Like?

Unknown:

Oh, my God, I mean, anyone who goes to Guildhall I'm sure will give you the response. Okay, so first of all, the reason why I went there it was because it's been on my bucket list for a very, very long time. I did a summer school there. They did like a week, summer course which I went on. And so I knew some of the tutors there. And one of the tutors who I love dearly league exam, so she won't mind me naming her. She She really inspired me. So I did that for a week had a wonderful time in the Barbican is like this otter bit. And I just remember sitting there, and we just had this conversation and I just said, you know, I've really loved to do the course this is just all you know, just apply, think about how you can do it, you know, just think about the practical thing or how you're going to pay for it. Yeah, you're gonna get in out of it. Anyway, seven years later, I did it. Yeah. So that was from that conversation with Lee. That was placed in my mind, I saved up or, you know, fair bit of money. And then when all that happened at work, I just thought, right, I'm going to do it, I've got the money, I'm going to at least apply. So I applied and I got in, but I didn't read or write music I got in because of my performance experience because obviously I've been performing for like 20 years. So that's what got me in. But my experience of Guildhall was just like most people say, the best time in my life and the worst time of my life. It was so challenging. You have so so challenging on so many levels one because I was a mature student, too, because I didn't read all right, you I mean, look, I could get round a chart, but there was no view put score in front of me. Is that okay, you're ready. I want to I want to let you know it would that is not one of my strong points first to admit that. But I do have a good day. And I've got a lot of experience performance. And I do feel very comfortable on stage as long as I'm prepared. And so yeah, so it was very, very challenging. And I had no idea what was in store for me. I mean, obviously the autoloaders got this reputation. You know, it's a world class. It's a world renowned Conservatoire. And he certainly lived up to its reputation in terms of Conservatoire education where the rigour is just intense. And also the expectations are very, very high because the expectations they want you to be world class, you know, so the standard of the tuition I mean, what these tutors that I don't think there's anything about music they do not know, they are just utterly exquisite, and they really well but certainly the tutors I had my one to one professors that I had all they wanted was the best for me. You know, I know I came out of some of those lessons thinking you've just given me a hand for the diamonds. You've given me a handful of diamonds. And yeah, so I just want to give a shout out to Lee Gibson, Tina, my lion Carol, Atlas outcomes colour lion, Liang Liang Carol as a Junker hound, and Malcolm Edmunds, you know and there's loads more but they really yeah, they really made my time special.

Claire Waite Brown:

That's brilliant. It's so good that it was something that you'd wanted to do for such a long time. And they lived up to that for you the experience was as superior as you had perhaps imagined it would be.

Unknown:

And one more name check Sarah calm and she was another shooter. Sorry, I just needed to make sure I included them all. If there's only one I also forgot then I apologise. That's brilliant.

Claire Waite Brown:

I love sharing my guests stories with you. But podcasting isn't cheap. There are hosting fees and software costs to buy and time to invest in planning and editing to make sure the guests sound great. And listeners hear the best content. If you would like to financially support creativity found, please visit kayo hyphen f fi.com slash creativity found podcast. So on graduation armed with this very prestigious qualification, but did you move easily and comfortably straight into a glorious musical career?

Unknown:

No. I didn't know at all. I experience what's known as burnout. So I was at Google for two years, the first year was to do the certificate. And then the next year was to do the Masters proper, because I do not have a degree and I don't have a degree in music. So I was classed as a non standard entrant. I went into burnout, because what happened was I'd come out of that really intense, stressful big job, if you like, gone straight into Guild Hall, me and my naivety I was thinking, Oh, I'll go into a bit studying. And every time I could go do me yoga, dimly lit swim for getting in some ways guild halls, even more stressful than the job. I just left that the job I just left. Because there was no time. No time. I mean, I've been learning things on the tubing, I've been learning things on the tube route, I'd be able to get in there at say, eight 910 in the morning, I wouldn't leave till eight 910 at night, and then you've got to come home and study for a couple of hours for next, it was in pace, and with the added pressure of not reading. should have done that, you know, and but I mean, oh god or not to the standard that perhaps I should have. So it was just so stressful. I mean, I'm thank God for technology. Thank God for Sibelius, I mean, my god, that was a lifesaver, which is a music programme name check. Yeah, I got through. But what happened at the end, I was just beyond exhausted. Because I'd done two years at Guild Hall, which is just insane to do that. Two years full time. But Guild Hall. I also did a project in the summertime, called 90 gigs in 90 days, which is basically like doing a world tour, a friend of mine said, you know, you do realise you've done the equivalent, a lot of world tours. And then I didn't know this thing that I was doing. So I'm always working on myself that I was having this very deep sort of therapy. And it should have only lasted a year. But the process that I got in ended up lasting two years. So all the time I was in Guild Hall, in addition to everything else, I was having this deep therapy that was just opening me up so well. You know, I'll be dealing with something in the morning to do with my past. And then I'd have to go and do a blooming concert and then get marked on it. So it was all stressful. And all of that two years of that. I was just spent I was in a really bad way, a really bad way. I pushed myself too far. One that I have many defects, many, many good things about me and also many defects. One of them, I forget that I'm human. And I push and push and push and push. Because I suppose I want to achieve maybe I've tried too hard, I don't know. But that's definitely a defect of character of mine of my many defects of character. And yeah, I've pushed myself to fight. So I would say I couldn't work for about six months, I was in really serious burnout. And mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially. I was. So yeah, fill in the blank. Yeah, so that was a very, very tough time. really tough.

Claire Waite Brown:

You just said about your defects Do you think that has taught you and you have learnt from it not overdue stuff in the future.

Unknown:

I mean, I can look back at that and see I'm nuts that is, but my reasoning at the time was I'd already started that therapy. So I couldn't sort of stop halfway in between. I'm not going to be able to do the 99 gigs in 90 days because I'm going to go and get another job after this. I'm under no illusions that you're not most musicians have to do two things either have them you Music and they teach I buy music and they have another job. It's just an issue of the the add another top 1% that done. So I that was my reasoning behind doing all of those things at the same time like this on my show, we have another full on job this time next year, so so you've got that you've got the time now get on with it, you know, but it That was too much. I mean, that would have pushed anyone to the edge. And I really did push myself to the edge. And if it wasn't for the help of friends and family, I really could have gone under a really good. How did you recover? time, it was just time. So I didn't work for six months after that I couldn't work I was just all over the shop. I mean mentally. As I said physically and also the most frightening thing clay was knowing I'd spent all my life savings and being too exhausted to go out and oh my gosh, spent all my money. Oh my god, what does it go student? Oh, Jesus. So you're in the pack, right? Go and get a job. Come on, I'll be getting off now, you know, on an account, like, that was a very, very scary, scary place to be. So I didn't work for six months. And thankfully, I've got help from my mom and my dad. And yeah, people did did help me. I'm very grateful for that. But I was not in a good way for a good six months. And even after that when I did start working and stuff again, for a couple of days away. It did some consultancy on our bottom line. Thankfully, it still took a while it's still it wasn't just the right way. Am I Okay, now let's go It wasn't like that. Just like even that was like that and even that took you know, that took that took time.

Claire Waite Brown:

I know you've managed to get into a studio. Tell me about that and what you're hoping for in the future, including your online presence.

Unknown:

So I'm sort of old school, really, I'm not really necessarily I suppose I'm the generation just before the sort of the Instagrams and all of that lot. So I was actually being quite new to online stuff. Prior to COVID. I just had me and my good life. Thanks very much. I was out there doing the gigs working. As I said, I thought I'd cracked it. And I wasn't really someone to be putting loads of photographs online and stuff. It's just not meant it's just like I'm doing life. I'm not reporting on life on doing life. There's a DNR lane, so I never really did that. But now I think it really has changed and COVID has changed that because so much has gone online, you know, so much has gone online. And so now I realised that I do really need a good online presence. So I'm just starting to build that. So clubhouse has literally been my saving grace. I'm so grateful for club house. So my brother introduced me to his my mom's invite, but it's actually my brother introduced me to it, you know, say she gotta get on this outside. In my head. Oh, my God, not another blood. Yeah. Interesting. Leave me alone. I don't care. I have a real life, you know. So the first month I never really used it. But then about a month later, I just started dipping into different things. And then after a week, I just thought all I get it. And of course because it's all to do with the voice. That's my heaven. That's my, that's my ground, you know, sound the voice you know, and, and how much can be detected in one's voice so we can learn so much about people by their voice, I think and feel. And one of the things I think that really worked for me is the very fact that it's in real time. And it's not just a case of putting a picture up and going. This is me having a cup of tea. This is me walking my dog. It's in the moment you know, the person you're talking to whether they're for real or not, is kind of it has a an aspect of authenticity about it, I feel so that's what I liked about it was one time when my brother were in a room is quite a laundry machine. Can't remember he just said oh you want to get this garage just got really good voice anyway, they pulled me up and I just sang on the spot acapella which is fine, that's what I do. No problem. And then I thought okay, I'm onto something here. So I just started going into rooms going into room singing acapella. So I would do a room you know, of seven in the morning, I do another one at 10 I'll do another 111 my friend Stella Tudor, who I met on clubhouse. She did this soul cafe every night at nine o'clock. So I would do her I would kind of like the closing act as if it was like a, you know, like back in the day of Terry Wogan or something like that, you know in the interview his guests and then have a music section so I was like that bit. So I did that most nights, just saying wherever I could in any of these rooms acapella on the spot and also put in my bio that you know, happy to sing acapella. So I knew every single time I plugged into club house, anyone who reads my but just in my mind a thought Be prepared to sing because if they call you up and you've got that in your bio, camera, lights, action, you've got to be on go, you know, and it's fine because obviously, I've got so much experience, thank God, I'm able to do that, you know. And I've got a club called soothe your soul. And I've got Dave, I tell who is London's best session musician, basically, who's worked with everyone, you know, be on the same Tom Jones type that Chaka Khan Niall Raj, I mean, the list just goes on his underworld tours or whatever. And every Sunday seven to eight, we do a whole mix of acoustic song numbers. So it will either be classic soul, or some you know, bit of neo soul bit of r&b and a sprinkling of jazz, but it is my it's mainly soul. I do put a few jazz standards in there. Because obviously, I did study at Guildhall and I just think it's any right or improper, but I am jazz on there. So yeah, that's really exciting. And that is going to continue for as long as possible. And the studio session was the first time I played with Dave, him and Carlos Edwards, who again, has an incredible biography and has played with, you know, some really, really big names. So there's three of us, we met in a studio, and we did a force acoustic soul covers. And that was mainly for a soul set. So I've, I have a quintet for my jazz gigs, if you like or previous jazz gigs. And I've created the acoustic soul trio specifically to do the soul stuff, you know, like Stevie Wonder Marvin Gaye and Shaq car and all that sort of stuff. And so we did that for a showreel in the hope that when we come out a lockdown, we're just going to get gigs, gigs, gigs, gigs, gigs galore, you know, because we are all incredible musicians. And not only is the music wonderful, but it's just a good vibe. It's a great vibe, if you book me for your event, all add value, because the vibe that we all put out is just utterly exquisite. You know, we are there to spread love through the vibration of music. And that's another reason why I know it's more good job. Fantastic.

Claire Waite Brown:

You've spoken about your covers, but you've also spoken about your own writing. Tell me more about your own work.

Unknown:

Thank you for asking. I have had some dance releases in the past songs I've written. So I don't play an instrument. I mean, I can get around a keyboard, I have got a keyboard here. So I always need to collaborate. So I do lyrics and melodies. So I'll always need chords. So I've done that in the past. And I've written some stuff with wonderful jazz pianist called Nick Cooper. So we wrote a few together, I will be continuing to write with him and hopefully, right in with day. So my aim is to have an album out within the next few months. So I'm writing in the background. And I would say it's a mix, there are some dance numbers, and there'll be some, like jazz and soul neo soul numbers as well. That'd be that that's definitely my intention to get my music out there. From my life experience, watch this space. And I will be looking at putting the covers on iTunes and Spotify as well. Because we've got about four of those acoustic song covers, which are they just love that. I think they're lovely.

Claire Waite Brown:

Oh, that's beautiful. That's so exciting Maxime. How can people contact you?

Unknown:

Oh, well done. Thank you very much. Instagram, Maxine Ryan, you can DM me on Instagram. You can also go to your see my website on there. You can email me from my website, Maxine line.com. I am on YouTube. So you can leave a message on YouTube, mainly Instagram or my website and watch out for me because I will be coming to soothe your soul.

Claire Waite Brown:

So Maxine, do you fancy singing a bit of acapella for us now.

Unknown:

Oh, yeah, I'll be delighted. Thank you. And I'll do a little snippet of a wonderful bill with his chin. And what a lot of people don't know about Bill Withers is that he had to overcome a speech impediment. To speak, and there's a wonderful documentary all about that called still bill on YouTube. Fascinating man. fascinating story. So I'll give you a little snippet of that. So this was written in 1981 by Bill Withers, and it is called just the two of us. That that happened that day. That guy, I see the crystal raindrops fall. And the beauty of it all is when the sun comes shining through to make those rainbows in my mind, went out there, give you some time, and I want to spend some time with you. Just the two of us. We can make it if we try just the two of us. Just the two of us. Just the two of us building castles in the sky just to this feeling that they that they did. Doo doo doo doo. Just the two of us. Yay. Thank you. So that's just gorgeous. Oh, you're welcome. You're so welcome.

Claire Waite Brown:

Always be so lovely to talk to you, Maxine. Thanks ever so much.

Unknown:

Oh, thank you. Thank you. I've thoroughly enjoyed it. So yeah, it's just really is wonderful. And thank you so much. And I think you're doing wonderful. And as I've said before, it feels like I've known you forever, even though we've only recently met on clubhouse, but it's been an absolute pleasure. And thank you for having me. And just thank you for all of your support in January. I really do appreciate it.

Claire Waite Brown:

Or you're welcome Maxine Thank you.